Category Archives: New Content

Training and transfer of men conscripted into the Sherwood Foresters in 1918

Been looking at how the 1917-8 conscripts were trained and posted overseas……

Quite interesting really. The 3rd and 4th Reserve Battalions in the Northeast and the 5th Reserve in Saltfleet appear to have undertaken most of the training and men were then posted onto just several different Battalions via the Infantry Base Depots.

Albert Heath; the soldier photographer

Albert Heath was born in Clay Cross in January 1880 and was a photographer by trade residing on Thanet Street. He married Mary Alice (nee Osbourne) in 1907 and they had at least one child; George Albert who was born in July 1910.

Albert enlisted into the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Sherwood Foresters in March 1904 and re-enlisted into the 6th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment on the 1st April 1908. He attended all the Annual Campus between 1908 and 1914.

I have 8 Albert Heath original postcards, which appear to cluster into 3 distinct groupings based on the locations/dates and/or the style of backing.

1908-09: Scarborough Camp

Note: Although not dated, and there is no clue from the background where these two shots were taken, it is likely to have been at one of the early Camps 1908-1909 (or 1910?) because the men are wearing both the old Volunteer (cloth) and new Territorial (dress) shoulder badges (see below). Interestingly these also appear to be consecutive cards (#52 and #53).

1912: Llanfarian, Abermaide, Aberystwyth Camp

The background terrain identifies this as the 1912 Camp near Aberystwyth and once again all three cards have the same backing.

1913: The Clumber Camp

The second card bears a 1913 stamp and both share the same background.

1914: The 46th North Midland Divisional Cycling Company

On November 1914 the 46th North Midland Cyclist Company was established and Commanded by Captain BH Winder. Albert transferred to this Company and accompanied them to France on the 28th February 1915.

Captain Basil Hawthorne Winder

In June 1915 Albert ‘contracted sugar diabetes’ which at the time was not deemed ‘the result of service doubful if aggravated”

Albert was discharged on ‘Termination of Engagement’ on the 15th April 1916 having served 8 years and 7 days with the Colours.

However, War service did not leave Albert unscathed and in June 1917 Mary applied for an increase in her husband’s war pension because he was an out patient in Derby Infirmary. In August 1917 this was granted because the medical board agreed that ‘this man’s condition may be regarded aggravated by Service since declaration of War’.

Arthur died on the 17th August 1917. His son George Albert died in February 1926.

A nice little puzzle for a damp Thursday evening……….

What I do know:-

  • A postcard of the Empire Hotel, which was the HQ of the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters until they moved to Luton on 3rd Feb 1915.
  • The postcard was posted from Epping on the 22nd Feb 1915.
  • The 2/6th Sherwood’s were undergoing a course of entrenching in Epping from 8th to 24th Feb 1915.

Therefore the card mostly likely came from a man of the 2/6th Sherwood’s – agree ?

What I don’t know:-

  • “Cecil House” is/was a old famous house on Wimbledon Common – but I can’t ID Lady Stanl(e)y
  • The message suggests a reasonably well-off young lady – “several of my foals at Liverpool Street [station]”
  • Any chance of an ID on Miss Thompson ?

Could there a link between Miss Thompson and an Officer of the 2/6th (or even other rank)?

But it’s not obvious to me at moment.

Unlikely to find an answer really, but I would like to know more about Cecil House and its occupants in 1914-15.

A break from the diary…….

I’ve managed to acquire three year books for the 2nd Volunteer Battalion and the 6th Battalion from 1907, 1908 and 1909.Year Book

A fascinating source on information to share……

These year books belonged to George Holmes from Whaley Bridge, who enlisted into the 2nd Volunteer Battalion in February 1883 and was given the Regimental number 1315 and served with “H” Company.


George Holmes in 1909